Rosemary "Rosie" Casals (born September 16, 1948) is an American former professional tennis player.

Rosie Casals
Rosie Casals, 1981
Full nameRosemary Casals
ITF nameRosie Casals
Country (sports) United States
Born (1948-09-16) September 16, 1948 (age 75)
San Francisco, California
Height5 ft 2+12 in (1.59 m)
Turned pro1968
Prize moneyUS$ 1,362,222
Int. Tennis HoF1996 (member page)
Career record595–325 (64.7%)
Career titles0
Highest rankingNo. 3 (1970)
Grand Slam singles results
Australian OpenSF (1967)
French OpenQF (1969, 1970)
WimbledonSF (1967, 1969, 1970, 1972)
US OpenF (1970, 1971)
Career record508–214 (70.4%)
Grand Slam doubles results
Australian OpenF (1969)
French OpenF (1968, 1970, 1982)
WimbledonW (1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1973)
US OpenW (1967, 1971, 1974, 1982)
Other doubles tournaments
Tour FinalsW (1971, 1973, 1974)
Career titles3
Grand Slam mixed doubles results
Australian OpenSF (1969)
French OpenSF (1969, 1970, 1972)
WimbledonW (1970, 1972)
US OpenW (1975)
Team competitions
Fed CupW (1970, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981)
Wightman CupW (1967, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982)

Casals earned her reputation as a rebel in the tennis world when she began competing in the early 1960s. During a tennis career that spanned more than two decades, she won more than 90 titles and was crucial to many of the changes in women's tennis during the 1960s and 1970s.

Early life


Casals was born in 1948 in San Francisco to parents who had immigrated to the United States from El Salvador.[1] Less than a year after Casals was born, her parents decided they could not care for her and her older sister, Victoria. Casals's great-uncle and great-aunt, Manuel and Maria Casals, took the young girls in and raised them as their own.[1] When the children grew older, Manuel Casals took them to the public tennis courts of San Francisco and taught them how to play the game. He became the only coach Casals would ever have.[1] But Nick Carter, former touring pro, father to Denise Carter-Triolo, who was once nationally ranked and made it to the fourth round at Wimbledon, gave her some lessons. Casals attended San Francisco's George Washington High School.[2]

Junior tennis was the first of several obstacles Casals faced during her tennis career. At five-feet-two-inches tall, she was one of the shortest players on the court.[3] Traditionally, tennis was a sport practiced in expensive country clubs by the white upper class. Casals's ethnic heritage and poor background immediately set her apart from most of the other players. "The other kids had nice tennis clothes, nice rackets, nice white shoes, and came in Cadillacs," Casals told a reporter for People. "I felt stigmatized because we were poor."[1][4]

Traditionally, audiences applauded only politely during matches and players wore only white clothes on the court. Both of these practices seemed foolish to Casals. She believed in working hard to perfect her game and expected the crowd to show its appreciation for her extra efforts. In 1972, at the tradition-filled courts of Wimbledon, she was nearly excluded from competition for not wearing white.[5] Later in her career, she became known for her brightly colored outfits, designed for her by Ted Tinling.[6]

Tennis career


The frustrations Casals endured due to her size and background affected her playing style. Despite her sweet-sounding nicknames, "Rosie" and "Rosebud", she was known as a determined player who used any shot available to her to score a point — even one between her legs. "I wanted to be someone," Casals was quoted as saying in Alida M. Thacher's Raising a Racket: Rosie Casals. "I knew I was good, and winning tournaments — it's a kind of way of being accepted." By age 16 Casals was the top junior and women's level player in northern California. At 17 she was ranked eleventh in the country and was earning standing ovations for her aggressive playing style. More experience on the national and international levels of play helped Casals improve her game. In 1966 she and Billie Jean King, her doubles partner, won the U.S. hard-court and indoor tournaments. That same year they reached the quarter-finals in the women's doubles at Wimbledon. In 1967 Casals and King took the doubles crown at Wimbledon [7] and at the United States and South African championships. The two dominated women's doubles play for years, becoming one of the most successful duos in tennis history. (They are the only doubles team to have won U.S. titles on grass, clay, indoor, and hard surfaces). Casals was also a successful individual player, ranking third among U.S. women during this period.[citation needed]

Casals soon became involved in another innovation: World Team Tennis (WTT). WTT involved tennis teams, each made up of two women and four men, from cities throughout the United States. Matches included both singles and doubles games. During her years with WTT, Casals played with the Detroit Loves in 1974, the Los Angeles Strings from 1975 through 1977, the Anaheim Oranges in 1978, and the Oakland Breakers in 1982, before serving as the player-coach of the San Diego Friars in 1983. She later played for the St. Louis Eagles in 1984, the Chicago Fyre in 1985, the Miami Beach Breakers in 1986, and the Fresno Sun-Nets in 1988.[8]

Casals won 112 professional doubles tournaments, the second most in history behind Martina Navratilova.[9] Her last doubles championship was at the 1988 tournament in Oakland, California, where her partner was Navratilova.[9]

Casals played in a total of 685 singles and doubles tournaments during her career.[6]

Fights for rights of professional and women players


Despite her victories on the courts, Casals continued to fight tennis traditions on several fronts. Amateur tennis players (those who are unpaid) had always been favored over professionals (those who were paid). Because many amateur tennis players came from non-wealthy backgrounds, they were forced to accept under-the-table money in order to continue playing. This, in turn, made them professionals and prevented them from entering major tournaments that allowed only amateurs to play, such as Wimbledon. Fighting against this discrimination, Casals worked for an arrangement that allowed both amateur and professional tennis players to compete in the same tournaments.

Together with Billie Jean King, Casals challenged the large difference in prize monies awarded to male and female players. Even though they worked as hard and played as often as men, women earned much smaller prizes. In 1970 Casals and other women threatened to boycott the Pacific Southwest Championships if they were not paid higher prize money and not given more media attention. The ruling body of U.S. tennis, the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA), refused to listen to their demands. In response, the women established their own tournament, the 1970 Virginia Slims Invitational. The attention generated by this successful tournament, which was won by Casals after a victory in the final over Judy Dalton, quickly brought about the formation of other women's tournaments and greater prize monies for women.[citation needed]

In 1979, the Supersisters trading card set was produced and distributed; one of the cards featured Casals's name and picture.[10]

Post-tennis career and personal life


The strain of playing almost constantly took a physical toll on Casals. She underwent knee surgery in 1978 and was forced to change career directions. Since 1981 she has been president of Sportswomen, Inc., a California company she formed to promote a Women's Classic tour for older female players. She also began the Midnight Productions television company and has broadened her own sporting activities to include golf. In 1990, she again teamed with Billie Jean King, this time to win the U.S. Open Seniors' women's doubles championship. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1996.[citation needed]

Portrayal in film


Elizabeth Berridge played Casals in the 2001 TV movie When Billie Beat Bobby. Natalie Morales plays Casals in the 2017 film Battle of the Sexes.[11]

Grand Slam finals


Singles: 2 (2 runner-ups)

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Loss 1970 US Open Grass   Margaret Court 2–6, 6–2, 1–6
Loss 1971 US Open Grass   Billie Jean King 4–6, 6–7(2–5)

Women's doubles: 21 (9 titles, 12 runner-ups)

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1966 U.S. Championships Grass   Billie Jean King   Maria Bueno
  Nancy Richey
3–6, 4–6
Win 1967 Wimbledon Grass   Billie Jean King   Maria Bueno
  Nancy Richey
9–11, 6–4, 6–2
Win 1967 U.S. Championships Grass   Billie Jean King   Mary-Ann Eisel
  Donna Floyd Fales
4–6, 6–3, 6–4
Loss 1968 French Open Clay   Billie Jean King   Françoise Dürr
  Ann Haydon-Jones
5–7, 6–4, 4–6
Win 1968 Wimbledon (2) Grass   Billie Jean King   Françoise Dürr
  Ann Haydon-Jones
3–6, 6–4, 7–5
Loss 1968 US Open (2) Grass   Billie Jean King   Maria Bueno
  Margaret Court
6–4, 7–9, 6–8
Loss 1969 Australian Open Grass   Billie Jean King   Margaret Court
  Judy Tegart Dalton
4–6, 4–6
Loss 1970 French Open (2) Clay   Billie Jean King   Françoise Dürr
  Gail Lovera
1–6, 6–3, 3–6
Win 1970 Wimbledon (3) Grass   Billie Jean King   Françoise Dürr
  Virginia Wade
6–2, 6–3
Loss 1970 US Open (3) Grass   Virginia Wade   Margaret Court
  Julie Tegart Dalton
3–6, 4–6
Win 1971 Wimbledon (4) Grass   Billie Jean King   Margaret Court
  Evonne Goolagong
6–3, 6–2
Win 1971 US Open (2) Grass   Judy Tegart Dalton   Françoise Dürr
  Gail Lovera
6–3, 6–3
Win 1973 Wimbledon (5) Grass   Billie Jean King   Françoise Dürr
  Betty Stöve
6–1, 4–6, 7–5
Loss 1973 US Open (4) Grass   Billie Jean King   Margaret Court
  Virginia Wade
6–3, 3–6, 5–7
Win 1974 US Open (3) Grass   Billie Jean King   Françoise Dürr
  Betty Stöve
7–6, 6–7, 6–4
Loss 1975 US Open (5) Clay   Billie Jean King   Margaret Court
  Virginia Wade
5–7, 6–2, 6–7
Loss 1980 French Open (2) Clay   Wendy Turnbull   Anne Smith
  Martina Navratilova
3–6, 4–6
Loss 1980 Wimbledon Grass   Wendy Turnbull   Kathy Jordan
  Anne Smith
6–4, 5–7, 1–6
Loss 1981 US Open (6) Hard   Wendy Turnbull   Kathy Jordan
  Anne Smith
3–6, 3–6
Win 1982 US Open (4) Hard   Wendy Turnbull   Barbara Potter
  Sharon Walsh
6–4, 6–4
Loss 1983 Wimbledon (2) Grass   Wendy Turnbull   Pam Shriver
  Martina Navratilova
2–6, 2–6

Mixed doubles: 6 (3 titles, 3 runner-ups)

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1967 U.S. Championships[12] Grass   Stan Smith   Billie Jean King
  Owen Davidson
3–6, 2–6
Win 1970 Wimbledon Grass   Ilie Năstase   Olga Morozova
  Alex Metreveli
6–3, 4–6, 9–7
Win 1972 Wimbledon (2) Grass   Ilie Năstase   Evonne Goolagong
  Kim Warwick
6–4, 6–4
Loss 1972 US Open (2) Grass   Ilie Năstase   Margaret Court
  Marty Riessen
3–6, 5–7
Win 1975 US Open Clay   Dick Stockton   Fred Stolle
  Billie Jean King
6–3, 6–7, 6–3
Loss 1976 Wimbledon Grass   Dick Stockton   Françoise Dürr
  Tony Roche
3–6, 6–2, 5–7

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline

(W) winner; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (NH) not held; (SR) strike rate (events won / competed); (W–L) win–loss record.
Tournament 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 Career SR
Australia A A A SF QF QF A A A A A A A A / A A A 1R 1R A A A A 0 / 5
France A A A 4R 4R QF QF A 1R A A A A A A 1R A 2R A A A A 0 / 7
Wimbledon (UK) A A 4R SF 4R SF SF 2R SF QF 4R 4R QF QF A 3R 2R 1R 2R 3R 1R A 0 / 18
United States 3R 1R SF 4R 3R SF F F QF QF QF 1R QF 4R A 1R 1R 4R 2R 3R 2R 2R 0 / 21
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 0 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 51

Note: The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January and December.

Casals was originally seeded 14th for the 1978 Wimbledon Championships, but a knee injury forced her withdrawal before the draw was made[13]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d Telgen, Diane, ed. (1993). Notable Hispanic American Women (1. ed.). Detroit: Gale Research. pp. 81–83. ISBN 9780810375789.
  2. ^ Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  3. ^ Kim Chapin (October 24, 1966). "A bright future for Little Miss Bombshell". Sports Illustrated.
  4. ^ Cheryl McCall (May 31, 1982). "Why Is Tennis Maverick Casals Really Rosie? She's Starting a New Tour for Stars Over 30". People Magazine. 17 (21).
  5. ^ "Warning – Casals Dressed Down". The Evening Independent. July 8, 1972.
  6. ^ a b Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (2nd ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. pp. 556–557. ISBN 978-0942257700.
  7. ^ Education & Resources – National Women's History Museum – NWHM
  8. ^ "MYLAN WTT PLAYER DATABASE (seasons completed) - as of September 25, 2014 - (Seasons 1974-2014)" (PDF). World TeamTennis. September 25, 2015. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 27, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Joel Drucker (March 3, 2009). "Casals far more than King's sidekick". ESPN.
  10. ^ Wulf, Steve (March 23, 2015). "Supersisters: Original Roster". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. ^ Pedersen, Erik (April 13, 2016). "Natalie Morales Game For 'Battle Of The Sexes'; Jimmy Smagula Books 'Rebel In The Rye'". Deadline. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  12. ^ Source for US Open mixed doubles finals Archived September 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Wimbledon: The Official History of the Championships. Barrett, John. Collins Willow 2011 ISBN 0-00-711707-8